Exploring a Rhythm of Life, Creativity, and Leadership from the Quaker Tradition with Rhett Smith

Rhett Smith Podcast 6: Exploring a Rhythm of Life, Creativity, and Leadership from the Quaker Tradition — with Theologian, Professor and Writer, Wess Daniels.

Rhett and I became friends at Fuller Seminary when I was working on my Masters in Theology and he was working on his Masters in Family Therapy. He and I have remained connected even though he now lives in TX. I’ve always appreciated his insights and he has helped me countless times on pastoral care issues and other questions I’ve had around leadership. So you can imagine my delight to have him invite me to be interviewed for his podcast.

In this podcast we discuss a lot of different things such as:

  • leadership in the Quaker tradition (flattened leadership)
  • what participatory culture looks like
  • developing weekly rhythms of self-care
  • harnessing creativity in our work (i.e. sketchnotes)

Rhett Smith Podcast 6: Exploring a Rhythm of Life, Creativity, and Leadership from the Quaker Tradition

Transgressing the Boundaries of the “Kingdom”

Here is the message I delivered at First Friends in Greensboro, N.C. on Palm Sunday.

Reading from John 12:12–16:

The next day the great crowd that had come to the festival heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord— the King of Israel!” Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it; as it is written: “Do not be afraid, daughter of Zion. Look, your king is coming, sitting on a donkey’s colt!” His disciples did not understand these things at first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things had been written of him and had been done to him.” 

Thresholds

This morning I want us to look at Palm Sunday as an example of what it means for people of faith, starting with Jesus, to cross over certain thresholds in our world.

Now we all know what a threshold is. It is a boundary that delineates one space from another. When you walked through the doors to this meeting room, that was a threshold you crossed over. Thresholds are barriers, sometimes visible and sometimes invisible. Jerome Berryman says that “A threshold sets apart but it also provides the way into a different space.” Continue reading Transgressing the Boundaries of the “Kingdom”

Our Big News About Guilford College

This was recently posted to Guilford College’s website:

C. Wess Daniels has been named the William R. Rogers Director of Friends Center and Quaker Studies, succeeding Max Carter, who will retire this summer after 25 years at Guilford.

Wess has been a full-time Quaker minister, educator, researcher and public theologian, and has been working toward cultivating renewal among all branches of the Religious Society of Friends. For the past 5½ years, he has served as Quaker pastor at Camas (Wash.) Friends church, a programmed meeting in the Northwest Yearly Meeting.

As a doctoral student at Fuller Theological Seminary in California, his area of research was renewal of the Quaker tradition within contemporary context. He created a model of renewal for use by Quakers and all faith traditions and, in July 2014, received his Ph.D. from Fuller’s School of Intercultural Studies.

“With his skills and experience and a commitment to Quaker renewal and participatory culture, it is my strong belief that Wess is the right person at the right time to fill the leadership role as our William R. Rogers Director of Friends Center and Quaker Studies,” said President Jane K. Fernandes. “I am very pleased that we have reached a successful conclusion to the search for this essential position helping to assure that the Quaker ethos remains a vital force on campus.”

Read more here.

It is with great excitement and a deep sense of humility and call that I have accepted this position. Emily, the kids and I are also very very sad to be leaving Camas Friends Church, a community we deeply love and have poured our hearts out for over these past 6 years. They will also be embedded within our spiritual DNAs, our memories, and life narratives. Without Camas Friends, I would not be who I am today. They have been good teachers, co-laborers and dear Friends.

I found the Friends Center and Guilford College to be world-class. I’m convinced that the work they are doing there is not only important but is at its core renewal work. I believe that the students and staff there will continue to have an impact in and beyond the Quaker world and I am so excited to have an opportunity to work alongside people there. I look forward to the many challenges and learning opportunities there and hope that I can make a meaningful contribution to the life of the community there.

The outpouring of love and support on Facebook has been overwhelming and not anything like what I would have expected. Now my attention turns to leaving Camas Friends as well as I can and helping them and my own family transition. Prayers for grace, patience, and God’s guidance for all.

Meeting for Readings and How to Do Them

Mikel Birkel’s book “Engaging Scripture” Reading the Bible with Early Friends,” is a fantastic book that is helpful not just for Quakers but for anyone looking for different ways of reading Scripture (inwardly, meditatively, together, lectio, for transformation, etc.). It’s a book we’ve used in a variety of settings at Camas Friends Church and people really love it.

One of the things we’ve done Sunday morning a few times is what Birkel calls a “meeting for reading.” A meeting for reading isn’t exactly like the silent reading parties that go on up in Seattle and other cities, but it’s a great idea. Continue reading Meeting for Readings and How to Do Them

Upcoming Agenda for Greensboro Visit

Guilford College is flying me out to Greensboro, NC next week (March 27-April 1) to be their “Judith Weller Harvey Scholar” and to do some speaking around the area. I’m looking forward to visiting with f/Friends, having a little time away with my wife, Emily, who is joining me, and meeting new folks. I will have copies of my book with me and am looking forward to talking about it with anyone who will listen!

If you’re in the area, I’d love to have you come out and join us at one of the events. Here’s a sketch of the agenda in case you are interested:

Friday, March 27 at 7:30pm – Living Room Stories: The Twilight Zone at Greg and Jenn’s home.

Sunday, March 29 at 11am – Preaching at First Friends Meeting in Greensboro (2100 W Friendly Ave, Greensboro, NC 27403).

Monday, March 30 at 7pm – Judith Weller Harvey Scholar Lecture at New Garden Friends Meeting – Facebook Event Link (801 New Garden Rd, Greensboro, NC 27410)

Tuesday Morning, March 31 – 9am North Carolina Yearly Meeting Ministers Association discussion at New Garden Friends Meeting (801 New Garden Rd, Greensboro, NC 27410)

If you’re around, I hope you can come participate in one of these events.

Snakes on a pole or The Rut That I Love (John 3:13-21)

And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.

“Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” (John 3:14–18 NRSV)

This morning I want to address the question: what is salvation? How are we to think about this work, especially in the context of what this famous little passage is saying?

Three images: * Healing * Connection and * Light

Healing

First, let’s begin this message about salvation and the love of God with something that seems unrelated: a snake on a pole.

[Read John 3:14–15]

This is connected to an obscure Old Testament reference – that I assume you all have memorized – where Moses is told by God to:

“Make a poisonous serpent, and set it on a pole; and everyone who is bitten shall look at it and live.” So Moses made a serpent of bronze, and put it upon a pole; and whenever a serpent bit someone, that person would look at the serpent of bronze and live.” (Numbers 21:8–9) Continue reading Snakes on a pole or The Rut That I Love (John 3:13-21)

A Prayer from Dorothy White

“You are the branches of the true Vine, you Spouses of the Beloved, you Daughters of [Zion] and Sons of Jacob…let the tribulated [rejoice] and sing, let the poor in spirit be glad; let them that dwell in the Valleys [rejoice], who drink of the Springs of the Fountain of Love; where Peace and Joy encreaseth, whether Love to the Brethren is multiplied…For our God is Love, and we must be made like unto him in all things. O little Love, overcome, overcome all your hearts, that Life may fill your vessels, that bowles of compassion and tenderness may flow one into another, that every Soul may swim in the fulness of Love, that all may be filled with the eternal Power, that the new Wine of the Kingdom may be poured from vessel to vessel, that all your Cups may over-flow with the Conslation of God.”

-Dorothy White (A Trumpet of the Lord of Hosts Blown Unto the City of London, 1662)